One central theme is the organisation of social work and the organisations within which social workers operate – both voluntary and public. Why do people do as they do and how are social workers affected by the organisational structure and culture that surrounds them? What distinguishes the expertise of social workers and how do they relate to other professions? Another important area is the study of how social problems are construed over time and what welfare policy strategies have been developed to solve them. Issues of citizenship and rights are also studied.
Methods and approaches are investigated from different perspectives – both that of the social worker and that of the user. This can mean how the exercise of authority is expressed, when and how interventions are carried out, and not least: how can one know which working methods are successful? There is great focus on the groups to which social work is addressed. What is their experience of the intervention of social workers and what opportunities for influence do they have? Swedish conditions are studied as well as international contexts. Currently, more than a third of the research projects have international cooperation partners or research focus, within the Nordic area and the EU but also in the USA and Japan. There are also research projects in Canada, India, Pakistan and Singapore.
Social policy and welfare development in Sweden, the Nordic area and the EU . Different social policy models and welfare policy solutions, including social insurance, and their consequences are studied and compared. Civil society. Research into the not-for-profit sector and NGOs and into social innovations and user participation. Children, youth and families. Research into family relations, children’s welfare and rights, children and families in vulnerable situations, social childcare and the outcome of interventions aimed at families and children.
Profession and organisation. Social work as a profession, the social worker’s career paths, their working methods, expertise and production of knowledge. The opportunities for action within the organisations in which social workers operate are also studied.
Marginalisation/poverty/homelessness/unemployment. Experiences and consequences of poverty and exclusion, youth unemployment, subsistence problems.
The elderly and their everyday care and conditions, care of the elderly as an organisation.
Substance abuse and abusers. Substance abuse and health, institutionalised care of substance abusers, individualised treatment, family issues.
Crime and victims of crime. Studies of correctional facilities and their employees, of victims of crime and victim support and on the relationship between social and criminal law. Migrants and migration. The welfare and conditions of migrants both in Sweden and in other countries.